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AESO Needs Identification Document Application, AltaLink Facility Application – Windrise Connection Project and Windy Flats 138S Substation Alteration, AUC Decision 25074-D01-2020

Link to Decision Summarized

Needs Identification Document – Facility Application

In this decision, the AUC considered four applications by three parties:

  • Application 25074-A001 by the Alberta Electric System Operator (“AESO”) for approval of the needs identification document (“NID”) for the Windrise Connection Project;

  • Application 25074-A002 by Windrise Wind Energy Inc. (“Windrise”) for approval to construct and operate a 138-kilovolt (“kV”) transmission line, designated as Transmission Line 497L, from Windrise 1063S Substation to Windy Flats 138S Substation;

  • Application 25074-A003 by AltaLink Management Ltd. (“AltaLink”) for approval to alter Windy Flats 138S Substation; and

  • Application 25074-A004 by Windrise for approval to connect Transmission Line 497L to Windy Flats 138S Substation.

The AUC advised that it would decide on Windrise’s applications 25074-A002 and 25074-A004 in a separate decision on or before November 16, 2020.


The AESO and AltaLink co-ordinated their applications with the application from Windrise to construct, operate and connect a 138-kV transmission line from the Windrise 1063S Substation to the Windy Flats 138S Substation, and requested that the AUC consider the applications in a single proceeding as contemplated in Section 15.4 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Act (“HEEA”).

In response to the notice of application, the AUC received five statements of intent to participate (“SIPs”) and became aware of an error in the map appended to its notice of application. It issued a revised notice of application and received additional SIPs from two landowners.


NID Application

The AESO received a system access service request from Windrise Wind L.P. by its general partner Windrise, a wholly owned subsidiary of TransAlta Corporation, to connect its Windrise Wind Power Project to the Alberta Interconnected Electric System (“AIES”). Windrise requested a new rate supply transmission service with a contract capacity of 207 MW and a new rate demand transmission service with a contract capacity of 3 MW.

The AESO determined that the preferred option to address the request involved upgrading AltaLink’s existing Windy Flats 138S Substation to accommodate the addition of a 138-kV transmission line to connect Windrise’s approved Windrise 1063S Substation to Windy Flats 138S Substation.

In response to concerns and an information request regarding the number of existing transmission lines located in the vicinity, the AESO explained it had explored upgrading existing transmission lines to accommodate the system access service request, but that this would require greater overall transmission infrastructure development. The AESO also indicated that it considered proposing a higher capacity transmission line between the Windrise 1063S and Windy Flats 138S substations in anticipation of future generation facilities, but in the absence of other projects requesting connection, this was unjustifiable.

Substation Alteration Application

AltaLink requested approval to install one 240/138-kV, 240/320/400-megavolt ampere transformer, one 138-kV circuit breaker, and associated equipment. AltaLink stated that the modifications would occur within the existing substation fence line and all construction would occur on land owned by AltaLink.

AltaLink received Historical Resources Act approval for the alteration and conducted a noise impact assessment that determined cumulative sound levels would not exceed the allowances of Rule 012: Noise Control.


AESO’s NID Application

The AUC found the NID application included all the information required by the Electric Utilities Act (“EUA”), the Transmission Regulation and Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations and Hydro Developments.

The AUC acknowledged intervener concerns regarding transmission line proliferation. The AUC accepted the AESO’s conclusion that alternative options were rejected for sound reasons, including that they would require additional transmission development overall. The interveners filed no evidence to counter this assertion.

The AUC considered the AESO’s assessment of the need to be correct, in accordance with subsection 38(e) of the Transmission Regulation, and approved the AESO’s NID application.

AltaLink’s Substation Alteration Application

The AUC found that requirements of Rule 007 and Rule 012 were met and that the substation alteration application was consistent with the need identified in the NID application. It also found that the potential environmental impacts of the substation alteration would be negligible and that there were no outstanding technical or other environmental concerns. The proposed substation alteration was determined to be in the public interest pursuant to section 17 of the Alberta Utilities Commission Act and the application was approved.

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